Thursday, October 7, 2010

Overpainting Stage 2 in-progress of rural CT landscape with tractor

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“An artist paints so that he will have something to look at”
— Barnett Newman

Here is Stage 2 of the overpainting of my newest painting tentatively titled “Orange MMZ in morning light”.  I’m on the home stretch now, only the foreground to complete. My palette remains the same -- arranged along top edge of my palette from left to right they are: Gamboge Lake Extra (Old Holland); Cadmium Yellow Medium (Rembrandt); Raw Sienna (Williamsburg); Chinese Orange (Sennelier); Fanchon (Napthol) Red (Williamsburg); Perylene Crimson (Williamsburg); Burnt Sienna Deep (Blockx); Viridian (Williamsburg); Ultramarine Blue French (Williamsburg); Indigo (Williamsburg); Warm Grey (Sennelier); Titanium Zinc White (Gamblin). The paints are pretty much arranged warm to cool and lightest to darkest in value.

For the most part, I painted the darkest parts of the subject -- the tires and wheels -- almost all of the mixtures for this session were very dark in value. I used mixtures of all of my reds for the wheels, darkening Fanchon Red with Perylene Crimson and lightening it with Cad. Yellow Medium. Hue shifts were accomplished with Chinese Orange.  I try and stay away from introducing any white in the light mixtures as they will become chalky and unnatural looking very quickly.  The darkest darks in the wheels have a speck of Indigo added.

The base color for the tires was a mixture of Indigo, Perylene Crimson and a touch of Burnt Sienna Deep. This combination of colors is my “black” and it is easily modulated in both temperature and value by adding Warm Grey, and/or Ultramarine Blue French. As I paint I “grow” many mixture puddles in a many variety of grays -- warm and cool -- that are biased towards purple, blue and brown. I constantly modulate these values/hues across my forms as they turn towards or away from the light source. This makes for a believable sense volume hence believable reality.

I work each area from dark to light. Each area is glazed first with a medium/dark halfpaste of jelly medium (Old Masters Maroger, Flemish Formula) corresponding to the overall hue of the overpainting.  So for the wheels, for example, I mixed a darkish transparent red from Fanchon Red mixed with Perylene Crimson and scrubbed that over the underpainting. From there I overpaint while the glaze it still wet and getting tacky, up in value using more opaque and thicker body color and highlights, and down in value using transparent dark mixtures. That contrast of thick and thin paint mixtures makes for an interesting surface with believable color with richness in the thin dark tones and shadows. The tires were painted the same way starting with a dark transparent halfpaste glazing mixture of Indigo, Perylene Crimson and a touch of Burnt Sienna Deep.

I love this way of working the paint. As the medium sets and gets tacky you can drag a brush of light valued thicker paint over the darker glaze coat. It grabs the paint and stays where you put it, showing the brushwork or I blend a bit with a dry brush to lose an edge where necessary. It’s important to get into the painting zone where this combination of techniques moves along quickly and unconsciously and without “intellectualizing” the process. If that happens, mistakes will be made necessitating repainting, which I try and avoid at all costs.

After drying overnight, I apply the final highlights thickly here and there, usually pure white tinted with a speck of Cad. Yellow Medium, Gamboge Lake Extra, Indigo or Ultramarine depending on the local color. Occasionally I may have to darken an area with a glaze of jelly medium and some transparent dark mixture. These final embellishments really bring the painting to life.

I always listen to loud music when I paint. Today I listened to (several times over) a rare gem from the Nice entitled same “Nice” issued by Immediate in 1989. Half of the CD is comprised of impeccably produced studio tracks, the other half live at the Fillmore East, NYC, December 1969, also a very high quality mix. There are newer issues with expanded remastered material from that Filmore concert available but I have not as yet had a listen. Rondo 69 is a tour de force featuring keyboardist extraordinaire Keith Emerson (later to form Emerson, Lake & Palmer).  In the Nice’s version of Bob Dylan’s She Belongs to Me .this powerhouse trio really rocks!

Anyway, onto the foreground next -- a variety of the mixed greens from every color on the palette to wrap this painting. Stay tuned!



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